Fremont Township History
Do some of the following names still sound familiar? Baker, Bachelder, Dush, Hillyard, Rowlader, McQueen, Sandbrook, Judge, Curtiss, Delo, Pierpont, Manwell and Richardson? These family names date back to the early 1800's when Fremont Township was being settled. Fremont Township was organized in 1863. Descendents of these families are still represented in the township.
Early in the Fremont Township history section 15 was known as Winn, until William Wiley Dush changed the name to Dushville in 1876. At the time Fremont Township was known for its fine woods that were being consumed as lumber. It was always the hope that a railroad would come to the Winn area, but instead several saw mills were built and lumber was hauled out using horses and wagons.
W.W. Dush operated three steam powered sawmills, which all blew up, with the third explosion taking the life of Dush in Broomfield Township. Life in Dushville continued, having a baseball team, a literary group and a newspaper, the "Dushville Banner." By March of 1895, the State legislature changed the town name from Dushville to Winn.
Fremont Township is known for its farming. Settlers from Ireland, England, the East coast of the United States, and the Ohio valley claimed and purchased property in the township that is still being farmed today.
The current Judge's Bench had been a two story building that had a card room and post office, and may have contained a bowling alley. On the current township parking lot, was the Commercial House Hotel, Saloon and Dance Hall operated by the Riggle family. The Winn commercial district had buildings on both sides of the street, that offered barber shops, two blacksmith shops (Birt Hutchins), a hat shop, undertaker, bank, drug store, three general stores and a doctor's office. In 1908 the Winn Telephone Company began offering telephone service.
In 1946 two of the Morey Brothers returned to Winn. After the war they worked in Washington and Idaho in the lumbering business. Coming back to the Winn area they operated the Morey Sawmill which was electrically powered. Electricity, by the way, had come to the village in 1935. The Morey sawmill supplied wood to all parts of the United States for flooring and furniture.
Union Cemetery and Taylor Cemetery offer a good insight of who settled Fremont Township and the Winn Area. Many of the tombstones are fading, but many of the names can still be seen. Section I of Union Cemetery and virtually all of Taylor Cemetery provide a rich history of who settled this area. Click on Services, then Fremont Township Cemetery for a list of all recorded cemetery occupants.
Source: Isabella County Portrait and Biographical History, published 1884
Winn Area Centennial Book, 1976
Personal knowledge of Wayne Barrett, town historian
Written by John Schimmelmann, Fremont Township Clerk